Former N.O. Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty in federal corruption trial

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been found guilty on 20 of 21 counts in his federal corruption trial, including bribery, money laundering and fraud.

The mayor will be confined to his home until sentencing, which will be determined at a later time.

It only took the jury just over seven hours to reach the verdict.  The decision came down Wednesday around 12:45 p.m.  The former mayor showed little emotion as the verdict was read.  His wife cried.

Nagin, 57, stayed seated at the defendant's table as his attorneys held a conference with the prosecution and U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan.

Defense attorney Robert Jenkins said they will appeal the ruling.

Prosecutors declined to comment, only saying they are happy with the decision.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu lost the mayor's race in 2006 by just a small margin. Nagin was re-elected for a second term.

Wednesday aftenoon, Landrieu released a statement saying, "this is a very sad day for the people of the city of New Orleans. The conviction of former Mayor Nagin is another clear indication that the people of this city will not tolerate public corruption or abuse of power. Four years ago, the people of this city turned the page on that sad chapter for New Orleans and on the old way of doing business. We are moving forward and are restoring the public's trust in government. Our city's best days are ahead of us."

Reporters swarmed Nagin as he left federal court on Poydras Street.  The former mayor would said he had no comment and maintains his innocence.  He remained stoic as he headed towards Camp Street.

Jenkins walked next to Nagin.  He said they would wait for sentencing before filing an appeal.

Jurors decided Nagin was innocent of bribery when it came to getting granite for his family's company Stone Age LLC.

Prosecutors argued Nagin took more than $500,000 of bribes and committed criminal acts starting in 2005 and stretching through the next several years as the city fought to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

The trial started with jury selection Jan. 27.  From there, the case took several unusual turns.  An ice storm delayed the trial for two days.  After that, there were seven days of testimony, including a test exchange between Nagin and prosecutors.  After closing arguments, deliberations were postponed for one day when a juror did not show up because of medical reasons.

Prosecutors said Nagin took money, free vacations and trips, and truck loads of granite for Stone Age.  Nagin denied taking bribes or giving out city contracts in exchange for favors.

Nagin said the bribes were actually investments.  He also denied allegations that he helped Home Depot open a store in New Orleans in exchange for steering business to Stone Age.

Nagin was considered a political outsider when he was elected mayor in 2002.  He held the office until he was term limited out in 2010.

He will be sentenced June 11th.

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